Working from home suits some and not others. To an extent, it revolves around your job and whether you’re naturally an introvert or extrovert.
However, WFH has hit the headlines many a time since COVID-19 became a thing. Many companies asked their employees to switch to working from home where possible. Some haven’t gone back, instead switching to hybrid models and smaller office spaces or ditching the office altogether. COVID-19 certainly kick-started a trend that looks set to stay, and with it has come various changes.
There are significant benefits to WFH. Reduced childcare costs, little to no commuting costs, and no temptation to spend $$$ on lunches and daily visits to the coffee shop. Many also love the better work-life balance, as travel time is reduced to zero. Some gain three hours, maybe more, by embracing this way of working.
However, we’re focusing on the social side of WFH in this article – and that’s clearly what suffers when you’re not heading into an office every day. Even if you’re permanently working from home now and love it, you’re far less likely to see other people as a result.
Introverts will certainly cope better with this, but even then, we all need social interaction in our lives. Sure, there will be some workers you won’t miss, but you can always consider virtual get-togethers or real-life meetups with those you do. Even once a month makes a difference. Many employers adopted technology such as Zoom and Slack during the worst of the pandemic, so if you’ve got the chance to use these platforms, make sure you do so where appropriate.
For example, one company I work for has added a daily trivia quiz to its Slack platform. This generally leads to amusement late in the afternoon as we all try and outdo each other on general knowledge (and sometimes far more specific) topics. It’s a simple thing but it does make a difference, boosting the connections between us. It has gotten rather competitive, but still…!
You can also expand your online social life in other ways. Find some online forums, join online communities. Think about heading out to a coworking space too, or even a coffee shop if you can work safely from there (obviously this depends on your employer). If you’re used to physically going to an office every day, it can take a while to rethink the way you work and interact with the world.
Some companies have reverted to working from home as the winter comes and cases of COVID rise again. Others never went back. If you’re permanently working from home now, your social side need not suffer. You just need to consider a different way of approaching your working day – and that can include a trip out before and after work to start and end your day, too. Whatever works, stick with it and see what else you can do to ensure that your social needs are regularly fulfilled.